This page is designed to help parents or guardians understand college basics and the financial aid process to support their student(s). A financial aid specialist is available to help you every weekday from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., except for a few holidays during the year. Please feel free to contact us at any time.
This page is divided into the following sections which represents some of the most frequent questions we are asked by parents.
|♦ Who is a parent for financial aid?||♦ Privacy Laws / Students are considered adults|
|♦ College Basics||♦ Additional Support Services|
|♦ What's it going to cost?||♦ Visiting Buffalo Sate|
|♦ Billing||♦ Questions to ask your student & Financial Tips|
|♦ Applying for Aid||♦ Checklist|
While we understand the modern family comes in many shapes and sizes, the federal and state governments continue to have a strict definition of who a parent is for financial aid purposes. The federal government defines a parent for federal financial aid as a biological or adopted parent only. If the student is living with a biological or adoptive parent and that parent is married, then the step-parent is also considered to be a parent. All other guardians are not considered to be a parent unless they have legally adopted the student prior to the age of 13. If your student is unable to provide their biological or adopted parent's information on the FAFSA, please call our office at 716-878-4902 to discuss the situation so can advise you on the next steps and how financial aid forms should be completed. More information is also available at Who is My Parent on the FAFSA?
Generally, parents are required to report their information on the FAFSA until the student turns 24 years old, even if the parent is not providing any financial support to the student.
By federal law, college students are considered adults and are protected by The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Therefore, there are some matters that college staff cannot discuss with parents, even if the parent is paying the bill. If a parent is listed on the student's financial aid form (FAFSA), the financial aid office staff is permitted to discuss financial matters with that parent. However, we generally cannot discuss the student's academics. Please make it a habit to check in on your student and ask how they are doing. There are many free tutoring services on campus to ensure your student can be successful. Encourage them to use these resources.
Additionally, all communication is sent directly to the student, typically to their Buffalo State email address. It is very important that students regularly check this email account.
Don't get caught by surprise! Even before your student applies to Buffalo State, you can have an idea of the costs and average aid package your child may receive.
Students need to apply for financial aid every year, ideally in October for the following fall semester. Review the Apply for Aid website for a detailed discussion of each step in the process. Below highlights major financial aid events:
Students are billed on a per semester basis. Typically, students are billed in July for the fall semester and in December for the spring semester. Bills are typically due just before the semester begins. While financial aid doesn't disburse until after the semester begins, students are given credit for the financial aid that's authorized on their account.
All billing is electronic and students will receive an email at their Buffalo State account when a new bill is available. Students can authorize a parent or other party to access their bill. If you want to review the bill, encourage your student to set you up as an "authorized user" on their billing account. This gives the user access to view and pay the bill only.
In many cases, the financial aid offered to a student does not fully cover the bill, therefore, it is important to have a plan in place before each semester begins to cover the remaining amount due.
For help with billing and/or payment plans, contact the Student Accounts Office at 716-878-4121.
Any one item on this checklist can result in the student's loss of aid and/or inability to register for a following semester. Please be sure they understand the importance of monitoring all of the items.
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